Chad: UN launches supplementary appeal for up to 150,000 internally displaced this year

Chad: UN launches supplementary appeal for up to 150,000 internally displaced this year

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Amid increasing insecurity and violence in eastern Chad, partly driven by killings in the neighbouring Sudanese region of Darfur, the United Nations refugee agency today launched a $6.2 million supplementary appeal to cope with up to 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) expected to be made homeless this year.

This latest appeal by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) comes in addition to $69.3 million already budgeted this year for some 220,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 camps in eastern Chad, and another 46,000 from the Central African Republic (CAR) in the south of the country.

“Chad is already struggling to cope with the refugees from Darfur and CAR. And it is now faced with the internal displacement of up to 120,000 of its own citizens amid spreading regional insecurity,” UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told reporters in Geneva, adding that the new appeal aims to cover up to 150,000 IDPs by the end of 2007.

The money will be used to fund assistance and protection programmes in eastern Chad, including the transfer of up to 20,000 IDPs from makeshift spontaneous settlements to more organized sites, as well as provision of emergency shelter and other non-food relief supplies.

The displacement began in late 2005 and worsened in 2006 with a series of bloody inter-ethnic attacks, exacerbated by competition for scarce water, grazing land and other resources – mostly in the south-east of Chad. The attacks mirror the violence in Darfur, with armed, mainly Arab men on horseback and camels attacking and burning African villages, destroying crops, stealing cattle, terrorizing villagers and killing people.

“The attacks allegedly involve mostly Chadian groups, with some degree of cooperation from the Sudanese Janjaweed militia,” said Ms. Pagonis.

Currently, there are at least 25 settlements of internally displaced people in south-eastern Chad, but this supplementary appeal notes that the real extent of the displacement in the region remains difficult to assess because of the growing insecurity.

Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed to the Security Council sending a nearly 11,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission to eastern Chad to protect civilians and deter cross-border attacks, as he painted a very grim picture of the humanitarian situation.

“Eastern Chad is facing a multifaceted security and humanitarian crisis, which includes ongoing clashes between Government forces and Sudan-based Chadian rebels, cross-border attacks on civilians by Sudan-based militia, the presence of Sudanese rebels on Chadian territory, ethnic violence, internal displacement, inter-communal tensions and banditry,” he said in his latest report to the 15-member body.

He also proposed “a modest deployment” of UN military and police personnel in the north-east of the CAR.